This is a guest post by Paul Scanling, President of the Atlanta Silverbacks Trust. Checkout the Trust website asfctrust.org. Become a member today and have a say in the future of the club.
Fan Ownership. It’s mythical, magical, produces a Lionel Messi every year out of your free to play academy.
No, not really. Fan ownership is very popular in Europe where most clubs originated as fan owned clubs. Quite a few of the world’s biggest and most popular clubs, such as Barcelona and Real Madrid, are wholly fan owned. Fans buy a share giving them a vote in the governance of the club. It is increasingly popular in the lower divisions in England as well.
It was announced on Thursday, November 30th that the ASFC Trust has agreed to purchase 25% of the Atlanta Silverbacks for $100,000. This gives us a seat on the board and influence over the future of the club many of us have followed for twenty years.
Membership in the Trust gives every member one vote, eligibility to serve on the Board of the Trust, as well as a few benefits such as tickets. Most importantly, it establishes a strong connection between our community and our club, making it OUR club rather than just another business that happens to operate in a certain zip code.
We are all sports fans to some degree. If you’re reading this, you’re probably a soccer fan. You see the difference in relationships between clubs in Europe and sports franchises here in America. Our franchises here in America do all of the usual things: support charities, promote worthy causes, etc. No matter how long they have existed in that city, though, they can move at will. George Steinbrenner was once asked how long it would take him to move to New Jersey if the right land came available. He laughed, but didn’t answer the question. If the Yankees could have moved out of New York, then your team can move as well.
Unless you own it.
We fully understand that the hard work actually begins now. Raising money isn’t easy. If you’ve followed other examples, such as Detroit City, you know that running a sports team involves cleaning toilets, renovating the stadium, stocking concessions and countless other behind the scenes activities. We have a team of people who will be working hard to make this a club that will make Atlanta proud. We have no delusions about building a 72,000 seat domed stadium. That’s not what we want. We want the club we have supported for so long to continue so that we can pass it along to our kids.